There is a great deal of discussion in the real estate industry about the living preferences of millennials, Americans born in the 1980s and 1990s, due to this generation being the largest since the Baby Boom, with some estimates being as high as 80 million people. Whether this generation will continue to rent in urban areas at high rates or will begin to purchase more single family homes in the suburbs is a serious debate that will have widespread implications for developers of both single family and multi-family units in the coming years. Some academics argue that millennials’ desire for city life and renting will remain, while others contend that this trend will not continue as this generation ages.
Data compiled by the Commerce Department shows the lowest homeownership rate of 35 year olds and younger since they began keeping track of these numbers in 1994, which would confirm the popular notion amongst academics. Conversely, a recent survey of 1,506 people born since 1977 conducted by the National Association of Home Builders states that 66% of those surveyed would like to live in the suburbs, 24% desire to live in rural areas, and 10% want to live in a city center. This data may be skewed however because all participants in the survey had either bought a home in the past three years or plan to buy a home within the next three years
Those that were interviewed for the article, who are 32 years old and 33 years old respectively, continued to blur the lines on what millennials are truly seeking. Both desired proximity to city centers because that is where they are employed, but both had just purchased single family residences within the past month. It is still unclear whether millennials will have marked taste differences in their residential choices and what the influence on real estate development in the near and not so near future will be.